For a fun and unusual Christmas idea, try baking your favorite fruitcake recipe into individually-wrapped portions. Tiny portions of this rich, spicy cake, filled with with candied fruits and nuts and often soaked in alcohol, make perfect holiday favors for gift baskets, favors or holiday parties. Wrapped in decorative paper and tied up with colorful ribbons, gift-size fruitcakes are a tasty way to bring joy and holiday spirit to your friends and guests.
Collect as many miniature foil loaf pans as needed from a grocery store, crafts store or kitchen wares store. If you can't find mini loaf pans, use a standard 12-cup muffin tin. The foil loaf pans are disposable and won't be reused, so plan on using a fresh tin for each fruitcake.
Place a paper liner in each loaf pan or muffin tin cup. Use decorative holiday-themed liners, if preferred, or simply grease each loaf pan or muffin tin cup with butter or oil or greased parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your favorite fruitcake recipe according to the instructions.
Fill each mini loaf pan or muffin cup about two-thirds to three-quarters full with fruitcake batter to allow room for the cake to rise. Decorate the tops with candied cherries or flower petals made from almond halves.
Position loaves or the muffin tin on the oven rack in the center position and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the centers, and if the toothpick comes out clean, remove the fruitcakes. Cool loaf pans for five minutes, then remove each fruitcake from its foil pan and continue to cool cakes on a wire rack. If using cupcake liners in a muffin tin, remove individual fruitcakes to cool.
Soak the mini-fruitcakes with rum or brandy if desired. First, peel off any tins or liners, wrap each cake in alcohol-soaked cheesecloth and then in foil, and place in an airtight container for one week. For alcohol-free fruitcakes, brush tops lightly with apple juice or melted apple jelly while fruitcakes are still warm.
Wrap each fruitcake in colorful tissue paper or cellophane when cool. Tie up with decorative ribbons or bows.
- Experiment with different toppings for each fruitcake. Try a sugar glaze, a combination of orange juice and sherry or a mixture of brandy and apricot jam for extra flavor.
- If you wrap the fruitcakes tightly in plastic wrap, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.
Bonnie Singleton has been writing professionally since 1996. She has written for various newspapers and magazines including "The Washington Times" and "Woman's World." She also wrote for the BBC-TV news magazine "From Washington" and worked for Discovery Channel online for more than a decade. Singleton holds a master's degree in musicology from Florida State University and is a member of the American Independent Writers.
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